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iPhones will soon automatically time charging to use cleaner energy

In addition to fun features like enhanced lock screens and the ability to lift photo subjects from their background, Apple's latest mobile operating system enables users to reduce their carbon footprint with zero effort.

iOS 16 will soon include Clean Energy Charging, which optimizes charging to coincide with times when cleaner energy is powering the electric grid. In most regions, renewables like wind and solar constitute only part of the required energy supply. Lower efficiency power plants — powered by coal or gas, for example — are added to the mix when demand is high. 

After users toggle the new feature on, their iPhone will selectively charge when lower carbon emission electricity is available in their area. Clean Energy Charging will be included with an iOS 16 update later this year and will only be available to users in the US.

Trend Bite

With power grids stressed by extreme heatwaves and the need to charge growing numbers of electric vehicles, consumers will increasingly have to time their energy use. Both to help balance supply and demand, and to lower emissions. Tweaks like Apple's Clean Energy Charging may seem minor, but with over 6.6 billion smartphones worldwide, it adds up. 

People can easily get overwhelmed by the scale of social and environmental issues. Sometimes the solution is to start small. Brands that are already working towards positive change can inspire consumers to adopt a more purposed lifestyle through incremental steps — more on that in our NORM-NUDGING trend briefing. 

Innovation of the day